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States must adopt model Bill to keep shops open 24x7: Assocham

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-02-2017 PTI

New Delhi:Industry body Assocham has urged the Centre to impress upon states to adopt the Model Shops and Establishments Bill, thereby allowing small and medium scale shops to remain open for all seven days.

The chamber expressed concern over the lukewarm response to the model Bill approved by the Centre last year, observing that so far, only Rajasthan has initiated an exercise for bringing in legislative provisions in sync with the Bill.

The state has begun work on bringing amendments in the Rajasthan Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958, to permit the small traders to keep their shops and retail outlets open throughout the week, Assocham said. However, it said the interests of the workers employed in the shops and small outlets should be protected and they should not be made to work in double shifts without additional benefits.

Besides, safety and security of the staff working late hours, particularly women, should be ensured. Highlighting the benefits of keeping shops open 24x7, it said cities with large population and the ones attracting domestic and foreign tourists could benefit a lot if the markets become more productive.

A model law that allows shops, malls and cinema halls, among other establishments, to run 24x7 received the Union Cabinet’s assent in June last year.

The law covers establishments employing 10 or more workers except manufacturing units and will provide freedom to operate 365 days with flexibility in timing to open and close. It also provides for women to be employed on night shifts with adequate security and calls for better working conditions for employees such as drinking water, canteen, first aid, lavatory and creche.

As per the proposal mooted by the labour ministry, the model law can be adopted by states with a provision of modifying it as per requirements. The Centre had been receiving suggestions from time to time to enact the model law, which the states could consider for enforcement either by adopting the central law or necessary modification by the state law.

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